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Antarctica’s wilderness fails to capture continent’s biodiversity

posted on 10.07.2020, 01:25 by Rachel Leihy, Bernard W. T. Coetzee, Fraser Morgan, Ben Raymond, Justine D. Shaw, Aleks Terauds, Kees Bastmeijer, Steven Chown
Although the entirety of Antarctica is often considered well-protected, increasing and diversifying human activity across the continent demonstrates that this is not the case. The extent of Antarctica’s wilderness remains unknown, despite the fact that the protection of wilderness values and inviolate areas (areas kept free from human interference) is enshrined in Antarctic Law (Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, Art. 3, para.1 and Annex V).

We assembled a comprehensive record of ground-based human activity records (~ 2.7 million records; see meta data file), sourced from publications and scientific databases, spanning 1819 to 2018, and used it to identify wilderness areas and their representation of biodiversity.

Here, we publish the complete historical human activity record (spatial points) used to identify Negligibly Impacted Antarctic Wilderness areas and Inviolate Antarctic Wilderness areas. We also publish the wilderness grids (rasters and spatial polygons) of the Negligibly Impacted Antarctic Wilderness and Inviolate Antarctic Wilderness areas.

Supplementary data for: Leihy, R. I., Coetzee, B. W. T., Morgan, F., Raymond, B., Shaw, J. D., Terauds, A., Bastmeijer, K. & S. L. Chown (2020). Antarctica's wilderness fails to capture continent's biodiversity. Nature, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2506-3

Temporal coverage:
01-01-1819 (Start Date)
31-12-2018 (End Date)

Spatial coverage:
Latitude: -60 (Northernmost) to -90 (Southernmost)
Longitude: -180 (Westernmost) to 180 (Easternmost)


Australian Antarctic Science Grant 4482

New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment grant (CO9X1413)

Sir James McNeill Foundation Postgraduate Research Scholarship

Australian Antarctic Science Grant 4296